AA's Plat Challenge: Can't Do It!

Apr 6th, 2009, 07:39 AM
  #21  
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I'd forgotten about the fee, but I called recently to ask about the Plat challenge again. And yes, they told me I had to pay $150.

I was going to join anyway because I figured that JFK-SFO would be 5000 miles, but then Plat challenge is based on *points* not miles (which I guess you guys mentioned too!).

So they had already verified my eligibility and signed me on, but then I asked them to remove my name on the spot because they told me I'd only have 50% points.

How far can the challenge be backdated? When I called they offered to use March 15 (or 16?) or April 1 as the start date of the challenge.

Do people think it's worthwhile to try a Plat challenge for $150? I'm thinking it's still worth it, but I'm interested in learning more about the issues involved. Thanks!
111op is offline  
Apr 6th, 2009, 02:02 PM
  #22  
 
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Those "is it worth it?" questions are always toughies. Is it worth spending $30K more for a Porsche than for a Kia? Pretty subjective stuff.

IMO, either challenging (AA) or asking for a status match once one has elite status (many other airlines) really has to do with your current and anticipated flying patterns. If you travel a lot, and your origin/destination characteristics favor one airline over another, then obtaining elite status has real benefits - preferred seating, extra baggage allowances, upgrades, expedited check-in, etc. If you travel a lot, then maybe the redemption opportunities (accruing miles through elite bonuses, for instance) are less important to you - you've seen enough airplanes already, thank you.

AA offers the challenges to give people who are likely to re-qualify a jump start. They're looking for brand loyalty in a highly competitive market. If you challenge in Year 1 and then coast, you'll be downgraded (first to Gold then to dirt) in successive years, and your $150 will only have netted you short term perks and maybe some bonus miles.

On the other hand if you travel a lot already, or intend to do so in the near future, and if AA and its partners offer good service and connections from where you live to where you travel, well, then, the $150 may well be "worth it" many times over.

As for your technical questions, AFAIK AA will not back-date more than a month to capture already-flown trips. Challenges start on the 1st and 16th of the month. If your challenge period ends before June 15, your status will only be good until the end of Feb. 2010. If your challenge ends after June 15, then your status will last until Feb. 2011. So unless you flew a lot in the second half of March, I'd have the challenge commence on April 1 or 15, or later, so as to get the extra year of status.

Regardless, if you don't fly 50K miles or earn 50K points (or fly 60 segments) in 2010, you'll fall to Gold on March 1, 2011, then nada in March 2012. You can't challenge again until after you're Gold, although there's talk that Challenges may be limited to once in a great while, to discourage serial challengers.

And to repeat, the Plat challenge requires you to accumulate 10,000 elite qualifying points (EQP) in three months. Deep discount fares earn 1/2 point per mile, mid-tier economy fares (booked in, e.g. fare classes L, V, W) earn 1 point; premium fares (full fare coach, business and first) earn 1.5 points per mile. All points must be earned on AA-numbered flights (meaning code-shares are eligible.)

Once you hit the 10K EQP mark, then you earn 100% plat bonus miles (redeemable, not elite qualifying miles) on all AA and many (not all) partner flights after that.

So, for example, say a deep discount JFK-SFO round trip earns 2700 points (2 x 2700 miles x 0.5) and costs $250. Four of those trips in 90 days = 10,800 points, Plat status. You're out $1000, plus the $150 for the challenge.

However, once you qualify your miles double, so at the end of those 4 trips you'd have around 15K miles in the bank, and it wouldn't be very long - if you fly a fair amount - before you get cheap (or free) upgrades, can redeem miles for free trips, etc., in which case that $150 doesn't sound like very much. It all has to do with your personal plans and habits.
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Apr 6th, 2009, 02:28 PM
  #23  
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Thanks for the very informative reply -- esp. the bit about that I should think about having the challenge end after June 15.

I think that the challenge is sort of worth it so I signed up for it. But the 50% points for discount fares is a hassle, and when I discovered this, I cancelled the challenge. In my case, there's also the consideration that I didn't pay for my JFK-SFO ticket.

There's a small chance that I may fly to SF again. If so, I may be able to get 3 NYC-SF segments to qualify. However that still only gets me about 40% of the way. Thus the situation is not as clear cut as I thought.

Anyway I've about 270K miles in my account (as a leisure traveller). Unfortunately I've not flown as much as I thought I would be flying recently. In fact, I only just made my first trip with AA this year.
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Apr 6th, 2009, 02:38 PM
  #24  
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Actually I just saw the thread on DEQM miles. I had forgotten about it. It does make things a little more interesting. I guess if I do fly to SF again, then it looks like 4 segments will qualify for the DEQM promotion (even on a discounted fare). So I'm about half way there.

I just need another 12,500 miles before the promotion is over.

Does this sound right?

If I don't make it before June I still have the end of the year to get to Plat, but at least the chances of making Gold again (which would be for free) should be pretty good.
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Apr 6th, 2009, 03:06 PM
  #25  
 
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Your challenge has to start not end after June 15 if you want Plat until Feb 2011.

http://flyerguide.com/wiki/index.php/Challenge

Challenges begun before June 16 of a given year earn status for the remainder of that year and the first two months of the following year; challenges begun on or after June 16 grant status for the remainder of that year, the following year, and the first two months of the year after (at least 14 months).
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Apr 6th, 2009, 03:26 PM
  #26  
 
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Your challenge has to start not end after June 15 if you want Plat until Feb 2011.

I guess my recollection is faulty. How unusual. Sorry, OP.

Double EQMiles means getting to plat would require 25K butt-in-seat miles between now and June 15, when the promo ends, or more if you don't make all 25K miles by then. That's around 10 JFK-SFO (or v.v.) segments, i.e 5 round trips, about the same that would be needed for the challenge. However, if you get to 50K EQ miles this year by whatever means, your status would last until Feb. 2011.

I am currently EXP and had thought I'd take a year off status chasing and use the opportunity to burn off some miles rather than earn more. However the combination of the double EQ miles plus the BOS3X promo (3x redeemable miles on BOS-SFO/LAX/SAN nonstops - 4x if you're Plat or above) has me contemplating a mileage run or three for the first time in years. It's an opportunity to renew EXP (hence more SWUs etc.) and harvest a ton of miles at comparatively low cost.

Plus the current economy, or lack of one thereof, means that award seats up front are apparently more readily available - even on the likes of CX or even QF - so now thinking about a first class longhaul award somewhere fun later this year, earned rapidly this spring. Maybe, maybe not, but tantalizing...
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Apr 6th, 2009, 07:00 PM
  #27  
yk
 
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Does that mean we'll be seat mates on the BOS3X routes, Gardyloo?
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Apr 6th, 2009, 07:45 PM
  #28  
 
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Does that mean we'll be seat mates on the BOS3X routes, Gardyloo?

Mayhaps. I'm shooting to do a few two-day turnarounds from Seattle - SEA-DFW-BOS-SFO-BOS-DFW-SEA.
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Apr 7th, 2009, 01:39 AM
  #29  
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Do you guys know if NetSaver fares qualify for mileage and the DEQM promotion? Thanks.
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Apr 7th, 2009, 05:21 AM
  #30  
 
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Do you guys know if NetSaver fares qualify for mileage and the DEQM promotion?

AFAIK, they usually book into O and Q fares, so no reason they wouldn't. "O" isn't upgradeable with stickers, and both O and Q aren't upgradable to Europe or Asia (O doesn't even earn miles to Latin America) but otherwise they're fine for the promo.

Before I'd buy one I'd definitely look carefully at the fare rules, which are linked on the main confirmation screen before they payment one.
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Apr 8th, 2009, 08:56 AM
  #31  
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Hi, here's a mysterious problem. I checked my mileage accumulation online. My flights to the West Coast were just posted. I flew JFK-SFO, SFO-LAX-JFK.

Before the 25% gold bonus is added, the total is 5398 miles.

But what's mysterious: YTD elite qualifying miles is 5561 and YTD elite qualifying points is 5756 which is bigger than either!

Can someone explain this to me? Since these are my first flights for the year, I'd have thought that YTD elite qualifying miles = actual miles = 5398 and YTD elite qualifying points <= YTD elite qualifying miles.

First I think that the fare classes booked were Q and S, and I thought they only accumulate half a point.

I don't believe that DQEM bonus has been added either.

So what has happened? Thanks!
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Apr 8th, 2009, 09:45 AM
  #32  
 
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Sometimes AA works in mysterious ways. I've had low-point flights turn up as high-point, even upgrades post as purchased premium flights. Be happy.

I don't believe the DBEQM miles are going to post until the end of the promo in June. Last year's AADER bonuses didn't post until after the end of that promo either.
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Apr 8th, 2009, 10:04 AM
  #33  
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That's so weird. Now I'm thinking I should have paid $150 for the Plat challenge because I'm more than 1/2 way there!

The math just doesn't add up. For fun, I tried this calculation: 1.5 x 2586 + 2 x 337 + 0.5 x 2475 = 5791. This assumes that they erroneously gave me more points because of the upgrades. But I get something a little larger than the 5756 they obtained. It's quite close though.

Thanks again.
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Apr 8th, 2009, 10:43 AM
  #34  
 
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YTD elite qualifying miles is 5561

2586 + 500 (minimum mileage guarantee) + 2475

I don't know how they got the EQP though.
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Apr 8th, 2009, 10:52 AM
  #35  
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Thanks for solving one part of the mystery. I still can't solve the issue with the EQ points.

Does it help that they posted a bonus of 288 miles on SFO-LAX? Note that I'm Gold, and the actual miles for this segment is 337 miles. So 288 is neither 25% of 337 or is it 25% of 500. I did get a complimentary upgrade on this segment.

You can see why I'm finding all of this terribly mysterious.
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Apr 8th, 2009, 11:01 AM
  #36  
yk
 
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You were booked JFK/SFO r/t
You ended up flying JFK/SFO; SFO/LAX/JFK due to mechanical issues


JFK/SFO = 2586
SFO/LAX = 337 (As GLD, you should get 500 mile minimum)
LAX-JFK = 2475

So, as a GLD before bonus, you should get
2586+500+2475 = 5561, which is your YTD EQM

5298 miles = 2586 + 337 + 2475
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Apr 8th, 2009, 11:02 AM
  #37  
yk
 
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Never mind the first 2 lines I typed above.
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Apr 8th, 2009, 11:05 AM
  #38  
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Yes, that's what Patty wrote. But what about the EQP and the mysterious 288 bonus for SFO-LAX?

I'm not complaining, but I am pretty detail-oriented.
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Apr 8th, 2009, 11:14 AM
  #39  
yk
 
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377+288 = 625 (125% of 500 mile MIN)
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Apr 8th, 2009, 11:15 AM
  #40  
yk
 
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One (or more) of your legs must have been re-booked into a higher class level (due to the rerouting) so you got bonus EQP for your return. Hard to say which one it is without knowing what fare class you flew back on.
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